When do I get to learn how to set up my local dev environment?

Hi, I’m totally new and mega beginner. I started Python basics and I want to practice what I’m learning locally but at no point DQ showed me how to do that. I tried my best installing python and VSC but I’m still struggling to open files etc. Please, would someone tell me if there is a point in this course when I can learn how to actually use Python to work with big csv files etc in my own computer? Maybe I got the wrong membership… :-/

We do teach it, it’s in the
Project: Learn and Install Jupyter Notebook
lesson. Don’t worry.

In the meantime, if you want, show us what problems you’re having locally so that we can try to fix those.


Hi Bruno,

Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to getting to know how to do these things since I need these tools for work.

My problem is that I am dumb and I don’t know how to just open a csv file and how to work with files in my computer in general… I googled stuff and I had to get something called pandas to be able to ‘read’

I just don’t understand what everything means yet like import, from blabla where is that stuff coming from… I figured I had to install them first!

It’s a long journey I guess…sigh

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It definitely is but you will get there! Just keep at it and in time it will all make sense. If you ever get stuck, just ask the community. There are a lot kind, knowledgeable, and patient people here who will surely help you out.

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Thank you for the encouragement <3

Hey, does anyone know if we can save the course instructions/text as a pdf or something? I mean the whole course, not just the takeaway sheet.
Thx in advance!

I’ll focus on the technical aspects of your post.

You were too vague in your description. Presumably you can do something. You can turn on your computer, you can run Python somehow (there are multiple ways to do it). At some point, there’s something specific that you can’t do. Tells us what that is and what it looks like on your end. Send screenshots and describe it the best you can.

We don’t provide such a feature. You can always copy and paste it, I suppose.

Hi Bruno,

I apologize for causing such frustration. You already answered my question when you said there would be a lesson that teach us the fundamental aspect of how everything actually works locally. How to get a file and open it with Python, how to read it, how to edit it. I had to bash my head just to open the file I learned that I had to be in same directory or something? none of these things were explained when I started the very fundamental Python course part I and I was expecting to start with that and not just the code itself. I am holding off the use of Python locally and hoping I’ll learn how to manipulate big files soon enough.

Thank you for your help and for being there for us!

That’s too bad that we can’t keep PDFs of the lessons since you already have it written down, it would be way easier than copy-pasting each page but the latter is still doable I guess… personally, I just don’t have much time.

All the best,

@patti.theralink did you google this?


One of DQ’s goals is to teach you how to learn by yourself.

You are referring to the mission takeaways? They can be downloaded.

Hi Ryan,

  1. I did google it, that’s how I ended up opening my file and practicing locally. I always google. I just wondered if these courses would also teach it since I like how things are explained here and I’m paying a subscription.
  2. On my first question I specifically said “not the Takeaways” I do see the download pdf option for that, I was asking for the lessons with examples etc.

Why is everybody so irritable/impatient here?


P.S.: if the whole goal is that I learn by myself, I’ll unsubscribe then

I know it seems like a lot right now, but I think what @masterryan.prof was trying to say is that no one can teach you everything there is to know about Data Science from start to finish and that at many points along your journey, you will need to learn things “on your own.” Personally, I don’t think today is one of those points for you.

I think given where you are right now, you shouldn’t be too focused on such things. I would suggest following your current learning path and finish a couple guided projects before worrying too much about teaching yourself anything beyond the content you have right in front of you. For heaven’s sake, you’re just starting out! Give it some time. Things will fall in to place. You will learn what importing is and how it works, how to install jupyter notebook locally, and how to open *.csv files on your computer. For now, just try to have fun with the coding exercises and experiment in the Dataquest learning environment in order to build your confidence with coding. Try to remember, you’re learning a new language and that takes time because it requires a lot of practice.

You will definitely learn how to install and setup software locally so that you can practice coding on your own computer. If you’re following the standard path, you will see this just before doing your first guided project. I think you’ll really like it since it’s much more robust than the online coding environment and allows for much more experimentation and is highly interactive.

I doubt we will ever see such an option because that would essentially make the platform obsolete; a person could spend a day downloading the content and then cancel their membership! Aside from the painful strategy of copying/pasting the text into a document locally, I wonder if it might be possible to scrape the data? I haven’t done the module on Web Scraping yet but I’m curious if it’s possible to use the skills taught by Dataquest to solve such a request using coding skills? Maybe…dunno. That said, there is an option to download the code that you’ve written in each mission. Just go to your profile from the dashboard and select “Download Code.”

If you’re interested, I wrote an article back in July for first-time coders you might find interesting and encouraging. Let me know what you think!

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Thank you so much for your kind words, Mike
:pray: :pray:

I agree with everything you said. I definitely enjoyed your article. As someone who spent 7+ years in graduate school, I’m very acquainted with impostor syndrome!
Also, I totally ended up in StakOverflow already, great site.

I know it is overwhelming but eventually I’ll get there. I just need to go a bit faster because I need the tools for work! Thank you again for all your patience and compassion.


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You are more than welcome and I’m happy to have been of some help.

If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of work do you do and what tools/skills are you hoping to acquire quickly for it?

I’m a biologist and I like to be able to access all sort of data like chemical data

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Is this typically numerical data in a csv file that you’d like to analyze and perhaps generate some plots? If so, just keep going and by the time you’re done Step 2-3 of the Data Analyst in Python path, you’ll be well on your way!

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:cowboy_hat_face: sweet! Thank youuu!!